They appeared to be on a ship of some kind. The children were behind a pile of rope, so they could watch the crew of men rushing about without getting stepped on. Luke had been reading about ships recently, so he knew which parts were which, and who everyone was.
“That must be the captain,” He whispered, pointing to a tall, thin man standing on a higher deck and bellowing orders to the scurrying sailors.
Emily looked worriedly around her. “Are you sure this is safe?” she asked.
Luke nodded. “Oh yeah, these guys are probably safe. Look up there. Do you see the flag?” Emily nodded, so Luke went on. “They’re flying the Union Jack, which means that this is an English ship.”
Emily gave a sigh of relief. “Alright, should we show ourselves to the captain then?”
Luke thought for a moment. “Well, he might think we’re stowaways, which may get us into trouble.”
John looked up from where he had been being quietly standing. “What if we promise to work for our passage?” he asked suddenly.
Luke chewed on his lip thoughtfully. “Well, I guess it’s worth a try. Let me sneak around to the captain’s cabin and figure out where we’re headed.”
Emily nodded in agreement to his plan. “You do that, and I’ll stay here where we’re hidden with John.”
Quickly, Luke took off, weaving his way through the ship. He crawled in behind some barrels just in time, as two crew members walked by. Taking a deep breath after his close call, Luke went on to the cabin. The door opened easily, and he made a speedy check to make sure no one saw him before ducking into it.
He found the map of the ship’s journey easily; it was already lying on a table. He looked over the charts carefully. There didn’t seem to be any indication that the ship was a pirate’s ship, for the route only went from England to France, and then back again. Pirates, he was sure, would have made detours to possible islands that might hold treasure.
Now reassured, he slipped out of the cabin again, leaving everything as it had been before he arrived. He saw the captain coming his way, so he quickly ducked out of sight behind a few handy sacks.
The captain passed him by, so Luke followed him at a safe distance. Before entering his cabin, the captain turned around once more, and his eyes fell on Luke before he had time to hide again.
The captain’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “What’s this!” he exclaimed.
Luke swallowed, and his words came out in a tumble. “P-please sir, my siblings and I would like to work on your ship for a while. We don’t need any pay but food and a place to sleep. I promise we won’t be any trouble.”
The captain frowned. “But you’re only a child; I cannot take a child onto my ship.”
Luke bit his lip, his mind racing. “My sister is a very good cook, and she can help care for your wounded men. John and I could make your cabin cleaner than it’s ever been since it was built. Please sir, we don’t have any home right now, and we need the food to survive!”
The captain seemed to weaken. “Very well, but you must earn your keep, or you leave at the next port.”
Luke’s eyes brightened. “Aye, aye sir! I’ll go get my siblings next!” and he ran off quickly, before the captain had a chance to change his mind. Darting around curious crew members and piles of goods, Luke found Emily and John still behind the ropes. He pulled them out, explaining the news as he did. “Come on, we need to report to the captain right now if we want our food and beds!”
Emily and John followed Luke back across the deck as soon as Emily stowed the magical saber in a handy barrel. In no time at all they stood panting for breath in front of the captain, awaiting their first duties on board the HMS Golden Eagle....next time: Alice & Alyssa: Part Thirteen! :D